One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.
Laurie Colwin

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Luisa's Chocolate Cake

Adapted from The Wednesday Chef

Luisa Weiss is an excellent writer and an engaging storyteller with reliable advice about cooking and good recipes. So far, I haven't tried a single recipe she recommends that I didn't like enough to make a second time. If you are not familiar with her blog, you should check it out.

Luisa wrote about the following recipe for chocolate cake. It's quite rich but much less cloying than a flourless chocolate cake as it has a little crumb to it. One of the great things about this recipe is how easy it is to put together. You don't have to use a stand mixer; a hand-held mixer is fine. Remember, as always, the better the chocolate, the better the cake, so as long as the chocolate is 50 percent or higher cocoa, experiment and see what you like best.

Azo Family Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Luisa Weiss, The Wednesday Chef

The recipe calls for a 9-inch springform pan. You can also use a regular 9-inch cake pan buttered and dusted with cocoa powder with a piece of parchment, also buttered and dusted with cocoa powder, in the bottom. This is great if you want to give the cake away as you can turn it out easily on a plate or a cardboard round.

8½ ounces (2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
(Cocoa powder to dust pan if using a regular pan instead of a springform pan, see above)
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (50 percent or higher cocoa), chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Lightly whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (see above for how to use a regular cake pan). In a pan set over simmering water - not touching the water - melt 8½ ounces butter with the chocolate. Stir to mix completely. (Alternatively, do this step in a microwave.) In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, stir in flour, then add chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth.

Whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry with a hand-held electric mixer. By hand, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture just until blended so as not to deflate the egg whites. Pour into the buttered cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven, and after about 10 minutes, remove the sides of the springform pan, and cool. Wrap with foil and refrigerate until the cake is firm and cold, at least 2 hours. Two hours before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature. The center of the cake will be fudgy. Slice, and serve with lightly whipped cream.

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